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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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15.3. Elements of control

Controlling projects is much harder than tracking them. Obtaining good data and evaluating it is a matter of deduction, but figuring out how to respond to trends and influence them requires intuition. Projects take on their own momentum, especially in end-game, and they can't be directed so much as influenced. When the activity is focused on working with bugs, there are many individual decisions being made across the team, and it requires constant communication and reminders to keep people making those decisions with the same attitudes, assumptions, and goals.

The most important way to think about the different elements of control is how often they are applied. For some high-level activities, such as management review, it's necessary to perform the action only once every month. For others, such as triage, it can be a day-to-day or hour-to-hour activity. Depending on the degree of control you need, or the level of influence you want to have, the time intervals of control are your most important consideration.

15.3.1. Review meeting

This is primarily a mid-game control mechanism. A review is when the team leaders must present the state of their project, compared against goals, to senior management, clients, and the entire team itself. The review meeting should serve as a forcing function to find out what is going well (relative to the goals), what isn't, and what is being done about it. The format of the review can really be this simple. If these questions ...

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